Ivan the Tolerable

I received a copy of this album a week or two ago and hadn’t sat and listened to it properly, last night I played it during my walk to Marske where I was meeting a friend for a pint. When I arrived at the pub the album hadn’t finished so I kept on walking. The whole album is a stone-cold kosmische killer, the dub track, An Interior, was a total surprise and is just brilliant. The best new album I’ve heard this year.

In praise of Stockton

A New Song in praise of Stockton, in the year 1764

by Mr William Sutton


On the banks of the Tees, at Stockton old,

A castle there was of great fame we are told,

Where the Bishops of Durham were wont to retreat,

And spend all their summers at that gallant retreat.

Derry Down & co.


‘Twas once a time, that King John being there,

The chiefs of Newcastle, did thither repair;

Humbly prayed that his Highness would deign for to grant

Them a charter, of which they were then in great want.


The King highly pleas’d with the Bishop’s grand treat,

Abounding in liquors and all sorts of meat

Their prayers comply’d with, the charter did sign,

Owing then, as ’twas said, to the Bishop’s good wine.


From Northern Garlands. Published 1810

Ivan the Tolerable – Autodidact II

Ivan the Tolerable aka Oli Heffernan has just released Autodidact II and it’s rather wonderful.

The latest instalment in Oli Heffernan’s prolific ITT project, this album started life as three separate recording sessions in July and August 2021 – work for a soundtrack to a series of films about psychogeography and North Yorkshire folklore, a remote improvised session with Christian Alderson (The Unit Ama/Archipelago) and a solo EP of arpeggiater repeat drones and freak-folk. Originally intended as three EPs, the flow and theme running through them lends itself well as a single album, linking previous release ‘White Tears’, (Library of The Occult) and forthcoming album ‘The Long Year’ (Stolen Body)

Cruel Nature Records

NARC Magazine Issue 177

Between October 2021 and January 2022 Oli Heffernan will have released five albums as Ivan the Tolerable, Houseplants and with his work in King Champion Sounds. It’s an eye-watering work ethic by anyone’s standards, but the energy and inspiration is something that seems to flow freely from the Teesside based artist.

NARC #177 October 2021 . Interview by Ben Lowes-Smith. Read it here

Benefits – Empire

The new single by Teesside band Benefits is loud and angry and for me captures the rage and fear felt by many at the current state of our society. The language may offend you, the noise may offend you, but the message is true and uncompromising, that is what is important.

Here are a few things that offend me

In our region, the HBAI figures indicate that 37% of all children and young people in the North East were living in poverty over the three years prior to the Covid-19 pandemic (2017/18 to 2019/20) – equivalent to more than 11 children in a classroom of 30 across the region, and up from an average of 34% in the three years before (2016/17 to 2018/19).


Record 2.5m food bank parcels given to people in crisis in the past year.


The UK has the worst regional inequality in the developed world, with people in England’s North East worst-off overall. 


There are 171 billionaires in the UK, 24 more than a year ago


Westgarth Social Club: Live Music Fund

Westgarth Social Club: Live Music Fund

The Westgarth Social Club is one of Teesside’s most popular independent music venues. Across its three stages, the Westgarth has hosted acts such as James Bay, Public Service Broadcasting, Wolf Alice, Pete Wylie, The Vaccines, Edwyn Collins, TV Smith, and First Aid Kit. 

What will gigs be like in 2021? Based on the last 9 months, these shows might need to happen under safety measures, with restrictions on crowd numbers or the need for particular seating arrangements.

Unfortunately, as through the first and second waves of coronavirus, if local promoters can’t put on viable events – places like the Westgarth will struggle to reopen. 

But with your support, we’re hoping to form a live music fund to support the safe and sustainable return of live music and events to the club. No donations will go to Spooker Rekkids or towards the running costs of the club, with the fund only to be used by local promoters. This could be to subsidise ticket prices; to help towards the cost of sound engineers; or to cover the shortfall in ticket sales due to potential crowd-limits.

We want to ensure that, whatever happens next, bands, promoters, music lovers and the whole community are supported and have a place to safely enjoy and participate in live music and events.

Our initial target is to raise £3000, which we have calculated could support between 15-20 gigs in 2021. If we reach that goal, there are plans to expand this target to £4000 for around 20-25 gigs, and £5000 for 25-30 gigs. Basically, the more we raise, the more gigs we can help to put on!

We’re aware this is an incredibly tough time for people but if you can offer a donation, we have some wonderful rewards merchandise kindly provided by Teesside’s finest promoters and musical talent. Donations with rewards start from just £5, but you can donate any amount you want! 

Link to crowdfunder

The message above is taken from the Crowdfunder webpage.

Unease by Ivan the Tolerable

This soundtracked my walk from Redcar to Saltburn today, it’s a bit good.

A message from Oli

Happy Bandcamp no-fees day! I made a new EP and its out today so i can raise the funds to replace my 8-track machine which has all but died after 15 years hard labour. So if you wanna buy it, do it today as all the money goes to the artists for the rest of the day. Its pay what you like so all donations are welcome, and if you are skint and still want it, well thats ok too!